The ice is beginning to tilt.
On Monday night, the Columbus Blue Jackets dropped a winnable Game 4 against the Tampa Bay Lightning as they now trail 3-1 in the best-of-seven Round One series.
The Blue Jackets were coming off of a tight Game 3 in which the Lightning began to bully the boys in blue in their own game and counteract the forecheck that Columbus knows so well.
Early on, the Blue Jackets looked like they could stunt this momentum with a goal just two minutes into the contest, but it was then disallowed, setting the pace for the offensive night that the club would experience. Let's discuss this and more in our Three Things.
One of the more questionable late additions to the world of hockey is the "coach's challenge" strategy, and it's nice when you're on the winning side of it. On Monday night, that was not the case for the Blue Jackets.
40 seconds after an offsides call was barely missed, Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his third goal of the 2020 playoffs to put the Blue Jackets up 1-0 early. This would have been a huge dagger to the Lightning who have scored the first goal of the game for the past two contests.
But Jon Cooper and his staff just had to tattle, and the goal was wiped off the board, leading the way to Tampa Bay getting the first strike the following period. Whether anyone will admit it or not, the disallowed goal was a big buzzkill and set the pace for the evening.
The Blue Jackets had a decent offensive outing in their Qualifying Round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but it's slowly gone downhill nearly game-by-game against the Lightning. In Game 4, Columbus couldn't get a goal until late in the second period, and it came off a bodily deflection from Cam Atkinson, not even off a stick blade.
Now, especially in the playoffs, I will never complain about how my team gets a goal, but when the only goal you score in a game is off of a flukey deflection, it's not encouraging for the greater scoring effort of the club.
Columbus even had seven high-danger scoring chances on the evening and 22 scoring chances in general, and could only tally one misdirection goal. Woof.
Undisciplined Final Frame
Taking penalties, in general, is bad. Taking penalties in the third period is worse. Taking penalties in the final two minutes when you're down by one goal is...you know. The worst.
Too many men called on the Jackets. That'll hurt your pull-the-goalie for a tie chances.#CBJ— 1st Ohio Battery (@1stOhioBattery) August 17, 2020
With 16 minutes remaining in the third frame while trailing by a goal, Pierre-Luc Dubois took a careless boarding penalty on Alex Killorn, and with the goalie pulled in the waning minutes and a comeback attempt in the works, the Blue Jackets took a too-many-men penalty.
Nope. Just can't have that.
Can they bounce back? John Tortorella thinks it's possible, and we shall see come Wednesday.
“We can't get frustrated. We're still in this," Tortorella said. We just have to try to get ready for our next game and score some big offensive goals. There's no sense in being frustrated.”